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  1. #1

    Recommendations for hard sci-fi set in space

    This is my first post and I thought people on these forums could recommend some solid reading. I really only read hard sci-fi and I am looking for some books on man's exploration of space, more specifically long space journeys with themes of the human condition, man vs. technology, and space paranoia or claustrophobia.

    Here are some of the books I've read that touch on these themes that I really enjoyed:

    2001 Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke
    Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
    Destination: Void - Frank Herbert
    Solaris - Stanislov Lem

    I haven't found too many others, but there are a couple of movies that fit the category too. Maybe they'll help you guys with recommendations:

    Sunshine (2007)
    Event Horizon (1997)
    Alien (1979)
    Pandorum (2009)

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums ManBeaver (interesting name)

    This thread should provide you with some good reading:

    Hard Science Fiction About Space Exploration

    Al Reynolds's Pushing Ice is a good take on the subject.

    Thought it may not feel like it, Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun is about a generational starship.

  3. #3
    Registered User JimF's Avatar
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    I'd like to chime in with a personal favourite. Mote in God's Eye.

  4. #4
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    James P. Hogan

    The Two Faces of Tomorrow
    Voyage from Yesteryear


    Charles Sheffield

    Cold as Ice

    Alan Dean Foster

    Nor Crystal Tears

    Arthue C. Clarke

    A Fall of Moondust Oldie

    psik

  5. #5
    Registered User livens's Avatar
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    Check out Greg Bear's Hull Zero Three. Not really hard scifi but plenty of great ideas and fun to read.

  6. #6
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Antares Dawn (1986) by Michael McCollum
    Antares Passage (1987) by Michael McCollum
    Antares Victory (2002) by Michael McCollum

    The first two books of the Antares Trilogy came out in the 80's but Antares Victory was not released until 2002 so I went back and reread the first two books to refresh my memory. Michael McCollum is an aeronautical engineer and this clearly shows in his descriptions of the starships. McCollum uses what he calls foldspace which is effectively the same as what Lois McMaster Bujold calls jump points but McCollum goes into a much more detailed explanation of it. This could be regarded as somewhat silly, going into details about non-existent physics, but I found it both interesting and amusing. But this type of FTL travel has the same effect on military tactics in the McCollum universe as it does in the Bujold universe. These choke points of travel between star systems must be defended and attacked which tends to wreak carnage upon the attackers. McCollum has aliens fighting humans instead of humans vs. humans as in Bujold's universe.

  7. #7
    Registered Uber megaphage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManBeaver View Post
    specifically long space journeys with themes of the human condition, man vs. technology, and space paranoia or claustrophobia.
    If you want a story about a long space journey you can't beat Tau Zero. The other themes are there but less expertly explored. It really is just a hard SF exploration of a single theme taken to its conclusion and beyond. I enjoyed it immensely.

  8. #8
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Flying Trees!!!

    The Integral Trees is a 1984 science fiction novel by Larry Niven
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Integral_Trees

    But they are sublight and evolved for zero gravity. They never grew in the ground.

    psik

  9. #9
    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    "Hard"?

    How hard is "hard" sf? I find Solaris an unusual inclusion under that rubric. Most adamant "hard sf" readers scorn anything using or implying FTL drives (which is risibly restrictive).

    More or less within your category, you should certainly try Algis Budrys' Rogue Moon.

    Stretching out a bit (to include FTL-based universes), you might look at C. J. Cherryh's Voyager in Night. Another possibility--along the "generation ship" line--is Damon Knight's The World and Thorinn. Or there is Rebecca Ore's Becoming Alien, which is not exactly about space travel but is about humankind going into space. Also, Brian Stableford's "Daedalus Expeditions" series might qualify: it deals with how humans might be altered by new worlds.

  10. #10
    I don't know if it's "hard" enough for you but how about Orphans of the Sky by Robert Heinlein?

  11. #11
    Star Gawker ebusinesstutor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimF View Post
    I'd like to chime in with a personal favourite. Mote in God's Eye.
    I second Mote in God's Eye. One of my all time favorites.

  12. #12
    Registered User Delmak-O's Avatar
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    My recommends are:

    Tau Zero - Poul Anderson (mentioned above)
    Anything by Alistair Reynolds
    Brian Stableford's Swan series.
    Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey
    Use of Weapons and Consider Phlaebas - Iain M Banks
    Across a Billion Years - Robert SIlverberg

    In no particular order.

  13. #13
    Michael Flynn's Firestar series comes to mind. Very hard, very near future, great characters.

  14. #14
    Intrigued diletante Nicolas's Avatar
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    Try Stephen Baxter, especially the Xeelee novels: Raft, Flux, Ring and many more. His "NASA" novels also, Voyage, Titan and Moonseed.

  15. #15
    Since you also like similar movies, check out the movie "Moon" which fits your bill really well. Its a little light on action, but is very intelligent and has a lot of atmosphere.

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